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Myanmar actors jailed with hard labour for show poking fun at military

By Associated Press, October 2019

A court in Myanmar has sentenced five members of a traditional theatrical troupe to a year in prison for their gibes about the military.

The members of the Peacock Generation thangyat troupe were arrested in April for performances during celebrations of Myanmar’s traditional new year in which they poked fun at military representatives in parliament and military involvement in business. The military is a powerful political force in Myanmar even though the country has an elected government.

Thangyat combines dance and music with verse that often has a satirical edge. The five were convicted on Wednesday under a law prohibiting the circulation of information that could endanger or demoralise members of the military.

“This is an appalling verdict. Punishing people for performing a piece of satire speaks volumes about the dire state of freedom of expression in Myanmar,” said Joanne Mariner, research director for southeast Asia for the human rights organisation Amnesty International.

“These activists are prisoners of conscience,” she said in an emailed statement. “They have already spent six months behind bars, just because the Myanmar authorities are too thin-skinned to tolerate the mildest criticism.”

The offence is punishable by up to two years in prison, and release on bail is not allowed.

Read the rest of the story via The Guardian